How to Make Candles!




About: I enjoy photography, horticulture and carpentry, and am almost always doing something relating to of those things.

My mom loves candles. This year for Hanukka, instead of spending 18 bucks for a candle or two from yankee, I've decided to make her some candles! I ended up spending $12 at Joanne's for enough wax/wicks for ~16 candles. I, however, only made two so that she can decide on her own scent/color combination when I make more.

I had a lot of fun making these, and I know she's going to love them.

UPDATE: I gave them to her tonight (12/6/07) and she really did love them, they're burning now.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Caution

This project does require a few safety/mess preventions.

*Wax is very hard to clean up from counters. In order to help with cleanup, use as few tools as possible, and cover your work space in newspaper. I wish I had done that.

*Wax is flammable, for this reason, it's very important that you don't use any setting higher than medium on your stove, and use a thermometer if possible.

Wax's flash point is 300 degrees F, don't let it's temperature exceed 250 degrees.

Step 2: What You'll Need

  • Wax - I got mine from Joanne's, a 4 pound block for something like $14
  • Wicks - Got it from Joanne's, too, for $2
  • Crayons (If you want your candle colored)
  • Scent (I used vanilla extract)
  • Olive oil (Optional)

(Joanne's sends out 40% off any item coupons every sunday in our newspaper, check for coupon's from your craft store, they're helpful =] )

*Double boiler (Or two nesting pots)
*Molds (I used a soda can, and a dixie cup)
*Mixing Spoon

Step 3: Preparation

Turn on your double boiler, and if you have a large block of wax like me, rest the wax over the boiler. This way, it will soften, and be easier to cut.

Lay out newspaper over your work space.

Take the wax off, and cut a chunk off, use the double boiler to melt that chunk of wax. I used about half a pound, and there was some wax left over after making my two candles.

As the wax melts, prepare your molds. Both of my molds were disposable and tear able. If you are using something like glass as a mold, rub the inside with oil on a paper towel, this will make it easier to remove the candle.

Step 4: Additives

I made my candles yellow, and vanilla scented. For my half pound of wax, I put in half a yellow crayon, and a splash or two of vanilla.

This site can help you match colors with scents.

This site can help you make the scents you want.

Step 5: Wicks

Cut off a piece of wick (cotton string) that's about an inch longer than your candle will be. Dip this into the wax, and then take it out. Use two paper towels, tongs, or anything else to pull the string taught while it dries for the most your wick will be straight. You can put the wicks in the fridge to harden while you finish the candles, if you'd like.

Step 6: Pour the Wax

Use the double boiler to pour wax into each mold, then stick the candles into your fridge. This will speed up the cooling process. Once they are starting to firm up, and the top of the candle looks firm, use a tooth pick to poke into the center of the candle. You'll notice that the inside of the candle is still melted. Position the wick straight up, and so that it touches the bottom. Melt a small piece of wax over the wick's hole to seal it. Leave the candle in the fridge until fully hardened. When they are hardened again, either peel off the mold, or slip out the candle (depending on your mold)

Step 7: Clean Up

Wax spills are inevitable. One of the best ways to clean them up is to lay a brown bag over the spill, and use an iron set on high to melt the wax onto the paper bag...voila!

Your tools are going to be a huge pain to clean up. My only suggestions are use few, use hot water, and use a rough brush to scrub it off.

Good luck, and Happy Hanukkah (/Christmas) !

The Instructables Book Contest

Participated in the
The Instructables Book Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Book Character Costume Challenge

      Book Character Costume Challenge
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge

    163 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hello!, I want to make a very large candle (like 3-4 feet tall) I have around 4 diffrent colors of melted candles that are each the same brand. how can i make the mold for the canlde and how can i layer it so that when the next color is burning a diffrent scent comes out? ( i have enough candles to make a sizeable candle)


    4 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    I run an Art Shop in California and I go through alot of Vinyl for windows and such. At any rate I saw this post and figured the large cardboard tubes that I get the vinyl roles in would be perfect for making a large freestanding candle. Please contact me through my site if you would like to reply.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    to change scent of wax as well as layer it do not melt all wax at once. melt whatever max you want on bottom first and so forth. add the bottom wax first and let cool/harden. then add next layer and so forth. as for the scent i am not sure this will work (dont use this till ur sure so experiment and get back to me) but try grinding up flowers pine needles or whatever it is you want, and add ing this fine smelling powder to the melted wax and stir. again may not work so test it before useing this method on ur large candle.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    well if you take a styrofam cup wood or any material than can hold its shape. you can hollow out your own design. i have not yet tried making a candle however i have melted cans and carved my own mold.....hehe wood + melted aluminum= small fire.


    3 years ago

    This is a lovely tutorial, but Please Please Please do NOT put containers full of hot wax in the fridge - it is a perfect way of raising the temperature in the fridge allowing bacteria to breed and potentially cause food poisoning.


    3 years ago

    Thank you, very clear and I'm going to try this out.


    4 years ago

    gonna make this for mothers day


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Bobftx,

    I would like to use you and your message as an example to many parts of the world of what a paranoid unintelligent american is. Not only will I explain it on this site but will use this comment on nearly 30 other sites where I give an explanation of the unintelligent, small knowledge based anglo saxon. I too am an anglo saxon American, but for some reason I am able to see our enormous shortcomings. Don't worry bob you're not alone, there are many people like you that I use as examples.
    If you follow the instructions there is no reason why you would have hot water, wax and pots flying all over the place and (scare tactic) all over your face, down your throat and through your bones. The people who would not follow the instructions (anglo saxon male americans) yes would probably have a mess on their hands, but even they are smart enough to jump out of the way if two pots explode. However these people do not have the ability (such as yourself) to see the benefits of going through this process to make candles. It is something that you can do for fun with others to create a useful tool. So bob please don't go buy candles, but spend the next 36 hours sitting down in a chair with a candle lit and think about why this is a good thing. If you still cant figure it out, there are plenty of good psychologists out there who became psychologists to help people like you.

    1 reply

    Actually, Bobftx has a perfectly valid point.

    Unlike water, paraffin wax will not boil. It has a flashpoint (listed on the package) at which it will simply burst into flames which can cause serious injury. Paraffin should ALWAYS be melted in a double boiler and a thermometer should ALWAYS be used. It is reckless and irresponsible for the author of this article to make it look or sound as if anything less is acceptable.

    Your post is insulting and ignorant and you are the one in need of therapy.

    I would not microwave wax aethodst ALL! It changes to composition and no longer burns or acts right. doubble boiling or a candle maker are the safest m


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Hello, I've made many homemade candles and I just stuck wax on low heat on the stove and it melted fine without a double boiler. Also I stuck it in the microwave many times. Good tutorial though. Thanks for sharing :) Are you using oure vanilla extract or artificial? Ive used vanilla oil for scent but I've never used vanilla extract because of all the alcohol in it.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hey! Yankee is just a brand of candle! They sell them at department stores and some malls have their own boutiques set up. They are very nice candles but they can start to get very expensive after a while!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    You mentioned your mom loves candles and that this year for Hanukka, instead of spending 18 bucks for a candle or two from yankee, you decided to make some homemade candles for your mom! Great idea! I’d like to know who is “yankee?” Is "yankee" a good or bad thing? Should I be in fear of "yankee?" Please help me understand. It's extremely important to me. Should I be in afraid because I AM FEARLESS. Enter at your own risk.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Just used this fantastic guide to make my grandmother a candle for Christmas. This was the "Plan B" of gifts but I'm really glad I did it because it looks wonderful. Thank you. :)

    Some thoughts:
    - Block of wax was $20 for me. I didn't want to shell out that kind of money in case this was one-time thing, so I bought several wax cubes for $6. I used only ten cubes when making my candle; they melted fine.
    - I also didn't have a double boiler, so I used a frying pan. Not sure of the advantages/disadvantages here but it seemed to work ok.
    - I used a small container for my candle. It looks much prettier I think.
    - You. are. not. kidding. about the tough clean-up. I probably spent more time cleaning wax off my pan than I did making the darn candle. One little tidbit of advice I can offer is that the wax seemed to build-up in some areas, and instead of rubbing harshly I tried to scrape it off from underneath. That seemed to be more efficient.

    Thanks for posting this! :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi! I`m making a gift for my mom and i am going to make the candles in jam jars. Can I just keep the candles in the jars or do i have to take them out? and also, why do you need 2 pots???

    1 reply

    Keeping it in the mason jar is a great idea, go for it. The two pots are to make a double boiler. If you put the wax right on the stove, it will burn. Putting it in a pot, in boiling water distributes the heat more evenly and gradually. The water acts as a buffer to the heat so the wax just melts.


    7 years ago on Step 5

    To straighten you can also just use your fingers.

    Lay the wick on something flat, like a flat surface. It dries very quickly and if left undisturbed will not curve on its own.


    8 years ago on Step 3

    This photo is a diagram for starting a house fire. What happened to the double boiler? Also, if you use nesting pots, make absolutely sure that they do not fit tightly together. If steam builds up between them you have hot wax, boiling water, and a hot pot flying all over the kitchen--and all over you.

    Maybe just buy the candles.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 3

    How is this "constructive" bob? Climb out of your bunker already.